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Breast Implant Removal (Explant)

Women who have had breast augmentation may choose to have their breast implants removed for any number of different reasons. Most commonly, though, patients cite a few common motivators for undergoing the breast explant procedure and replacing breast implants. The most common reasons for breast implant replacement include:


Like any other object, breast implants can be affected by age. They may rupture and leak.


Some women decide that they would rather have smaller implants some time after undergoing the initial augmentation treatment. The original implants will never actually change in size, but a desire to have smaller breasts can lead some patients to choose to remove their implants.


Augmented breasts begin to sag over time. This can be corrected by removing the implants to minimize further sagging and undergoing a breast lift.


Despite the safety of breast implant removal, patients considering undergoing the procedure should still be aware of the potential risks associated with it. Scarring is common, although all efforts are made to hide incision marks. The scars can also be longer than those left behind following the original implant placement. Some women experience lessened or altered breast sensation as well.

In regards to rupture of silicone cohesive gel implants, research has shown that the gel is non-toxic and has never been linked to the development of cancer or autoimmune diseases. Any silicone cohesive gel that has leaked into the breast tissue can interfere with mammographies and check-ups because the leakage may block x-ray images. A biopsy may be performed on the tissue affected by these “silicone shadows”. This precaution helps to ensure that cancer is not developing behind the leftover silicone and is the same step taken when a mammography detects any benign lump. The implant removal surgery can also result in scar tissue that can be detected during imaging, mammography or touch.


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